World War1 and World War 2

The realm of United States army since the World Wars 1 and 2 has been
characterized by either reluctance to join in a war or unpreparedness.
Towards the establishment of the World War one, there were a number of
factors brought about by industrialization, which suggested the
emergence of conflict. The industrial era for starters defined that most
nations required raw materials and other resources for their expansion.
It was evident that nations were in competition with each other over
other raw materials such as oil, which was necessary to fuel factories
and other vehicles of industrialism (Geiger, 2004). Consequently, most
nations started creating and training vast armies to stay prepared. On
the contrarily, America maintained a state of neutrality to devoid
itself of enmity with any nations. However, European nations commenced
with secret exercises of signing treaties to create a system of
alliances, and thus strengthening their systems.
Other forecasts of the impending war were suggested by the conditions,
which faced Europe. The situation occurred between Bosnian nationalists
who wanted to be free from Serbia who plotted to assassinate the
Archduke of Austria Hungary. On 28 June 1914, Gabriel Principe who was a
member of an outlawed group called the Black Hand assassinated Franz
Ferdinand. After this occurrence, Austria Hungary issued an ultimatum to
the Serbian government as he blamed them for the assassination of the
Archduke. Out of all the demands Austria Hungary instituted, the
Serbians agreed to them with the exception of two. In the first demand,
Austria Hungary required the Serbians to allow him to place their troops
within Serbia. Serbians, therefore, turned to Russia for assistance
since Russia considered herself as the protector of the Slavs.
Consequently, the Austro Hungarians appealed for assistance from Germany
who was their traditional ally. Austro Hungarians were confident that
with Germany on board, Russia would retreat. With this in mind, the
Austro Hungarians declared war on Serbia. From this instance, Russia
mobilized her military support. Germany on seeing this demanded that for
Russia to demobilize her army, which Russia refuted. Accordingly, German
attacked Russia. Russians had been ill prepared for the war and their
loss was devastating involving the loss of millions of men. Czar
Nicholas II who had refused to exit the war lost his throne when the
communists revolted and overthrew him in 1917 (Geiger, 2004).
Since France and Russia had signed a treaty, France declared war on
Germany. Germans decided to attack France by moving in through Belgium.
Belgians however barred the Germans from passing through their land to
attack France, which led to a state of war between Germany and Belgium.
Belgium on the other hand had signed a treaty with England. With this
occurrence, England was obligated to declare war on Germany. In
addition, Italy, which had signed a treaty with Germany, revolted to the
other side. Italy had in mind a plot to gain territory from Austria
Hungary. In fact, the plan turned out successful. Furthermore, the
Ottoman Empire joined the war to represent the Austro Hungarians. In
this instance, the Ottoman Empire planned to gain territory from the
Russians and would thus have had control over the Balkan region. At this
point most of Europe was at war.
While most Americans preferred to keep away from the ensuing conflicts,
the aspect of neutrality steadily dissolved as America sympathized with
the allies. There were posters all over America, which urged the
citizens to support the allies by purchasing war bonds. When the war
began, England was keen to keep off Germany and thus attempted to block
off supplies by enforcing a naval blockade. In response, Germany
unleashed the U Boats. U Boats were structured like submarines and could
thus stay under water for long periods. By using the U Boats, the
Germans would sneak up on the victims especially at night and make
attacks. In fact, the Germans would not only attack military vessels but
any ship, which was found sailing in the war zone. The region was,
therefore named, the unrestricted submarine warfare. On 7 May 1915,
Lusitania, the British cruise ship was sunk off at the coast of England
(Ellwood, 2012). The sinking of the ship cost the lives of 1,198 people,
128 of which were Americans. America demanded for the Germans to stop
this line of attack. The trend continued until in 1916 when a passenger
liner Sussex was sunk. The sinking off the Sussex marked Germans’
agreement to stop the unrestricted submarine warfare. To officiate, a
Sussex pledge was signed which further distanced America’s involvement
with the war. In addition, the pledge also facilitated the relationships
between England and France who shared America’s cultural values. The
then America’s president Woodrow Wilson started to campaign for the
support of the allies which enhanced America’s relationships to
England France to become trade partners. Trade between America and the
Allies grew from $825 million to $3.2 billion between 1914 and 1916
(Gaddis, 2004). At this point America began to view its success in terms
her allies win in the war, which would enhance the established trade
patterns. In this way, America viewed Germany as an enemy who stood as
threat to America’s prosperity. By this time, America’s stand on
neutrality had increasingly dissolved. It was at this time when the
British government discovered a letter from the German ambassador,
Zimmerman, which was addressed to the Mexican government. According to
the message, Mexico was asked to attack the United States if a war
resulted between Germany and the States. The note was referred to as the
Zimmerman note and the British availed it to the American government.
Furthermore, the note was published in the daily newspapers, which
enraged Americans.
Three years after the World War 1 had broken out in Europe, the United
States finally entered the war. Interestingly, even after holding out
for the length of time, the American army including all the National
Guard units that were viable to engage in war was only 300,000 (Geiger,
2004). I n addition, the armies were deficient of war supplies. As
America had sent troops to intervene in Mexico’s civil war between
1913 and 1917 in accordance with neutrality, America’s weaknesses in
military structure had been established. America’s military structure
was especially weakened by the organization, training and supply.
Despite the fact that Roosevelt, the former United States president had
protested that the occurrences in Europe were likely to catch on in
America, Wilson continued to hope that a peaceful resolution would
emerge. At the time when America joined the war, Italy had suffered
defeat after the Austrians had captured 250,000 of their soldiers. The
French army on the other hand was laced with fear that her armed forces
might have collapsed from within. In this instance, the allies looked to
America, whom they assumed would avail war material. Logically, America
had not suffered as mush economic damage as the countries who had been
in war. In addition, it was expected that America must have planned
since industrialization must have promoted America’s ability to
acquire resources. The allies’ expectations of America began to show
impracticability when for instance France asked America to produce 2,000
planes every month, whereas America had produced about 800 airplanes in
the previous years. While Pershing called that a million men were
required, congress provided that they could only muster not more than
420,000 men. By the time the war was over, at least 1.2 million
Americans had participated in the war and the causalities were around
117,000 (Ellwood, 2012).
Similarly, to World War 1, America entered World War 2 after her allies
had already joined. The cutting off oil supplies derived America’s
first step into the war to Japan for the sake of Manchuria. In addition,
the United States attempted to increase china’s military and financial
aid. On 7 December 1941, Japan made a surprise attack on America’s
Pearl Harbor. In addition, Japan cited America’s recent trade as a
means of justification. Four days later, Germany declared war on
America. The United States found herself in a two-theater war. When
America joined the war, she had shown commitment to defeat Hitler in
Europe. Therefore, during the first years of war with Japan, America was
especially a defensive battle, which was aimed to prevent japans
dominance to the pacific region. During these wars with Japan, Japan
would win most of the battles in a short period. It is after America
resulted to the use of bombs that Japan surrendered. The first bomb was
dropped in Hiroshima on 6 August, followed by another bomb in Nagasaki,
both in 1945. Millions of civilians lost their lives while many
casualties were unfathomable.
The initiation of strategic plans is key to the measure towards
preparedness for war. Although, the numbers of machinery present for war
are also a direct way of realizing the extent of preparedness. According
to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 19856, the law requires the national
security strategy to advise the defense department yearly through
submission reports. However, with time, most of the essential analogies
towards preparedness have been debased. America has continually acted to
war as a last resort or only after, she has been attacked. The fact that
America has to be attacked shows the weakness of her defense system. For
instance, even after 9/11 America’s priorities are into climate change
and globalization instead of war on terror (Gaddis, 2005). Just in the
way, America was slow to join the First World War with the hope of
peaceful treaties, the present America still holds the same stance. It
is with this reason that terrorist attacks n the United States are
usually surprise attacks. In addition, the available military groups in
the United States are considered below par should a war ensue.
Ellwood, D. (2012). The American challenge in uniform: the arrival of
America’s armies in World War II and European women. European
journal of American studies.
Gaddis, J. L. (2005). Strategies of containment: a critical appraisal
of American national security policy during the Cold War. New York:
Oxford University Press.
Geiger, R. L. (2004). Research & Relevant Knowledge: American Research
Universities Since World War II. Transaction Pub.